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AND NASCAR LESSON PLAN 2: ENERGY IN

TIME REQUIRED: 1 hour MATERIALS: String, heavy and light objects (such as a pencil and a pack of index cards), paper cup, masking tape, ruler, textbooks, cardboard, toy car or completed car from the Three Ds of ACTIVITY SHEETS: Kinetic Energy Activity Sheet

Central question: consider the height of a racetrack’s What is kinetic energy? banking when considering how cars will THINK perform. Remind students that three  factors affect how much gravitational the racecar has at the Have students consider what happens top of a racetrack’s banking: the height to potential energy when it’s released of the banking, the car’s , and the from its stored state. Explain that energy of . Given the fact that mass can’t be created or destroyed, but it impacts kinetic energy, all racecars does change from one form to another. must weigh 3,300 pounds (without Potential energy is often converted into a driver). Having identical another type of energy called kinetic makes sure the cars are competitively energy. Kinetic energy is the energy equal. NASCAR enforces these rules of motion. Kinetic energy can also by inspecting each car before and after transform back into potential energy. each race. (If you have not ex plored For example, you’d use kinetic energy aerodynamics with your class, refer to to lift a ball to the top of a ramp. That moved after the swinging the Three Ds of Speed unit to learn how energy would be stored in the ball as struck it. NASCAR drivers and engineers use potential energy. 3. Repeat the process with the heavier to create more speed on the object. Students will observe that the track.) Central question: heavier object made more of an 4. Tell students they will team up to What factors affect kinetic than the lighter one, moving the cup test how potential energy turns MOVE energy? farther away. This is because the heavier  object had a greater kinetic energy. into kinetic energy. Hand out the Kinetic Energy Activity Sheet and the 1. Explain that there are two factors experiment materials. After groups that affect how much kinetic energy Central question: have completed the experiment, have a moving object will have: mass How can potential energy them their results and discuss and speed. Have students complete BUILD become kinetic energy? as a class. this demonstration to learn how  mass influences an object’s kinetic Central question: 1. Reveal that racecars don’t just go energy. How does kinetic energy forward and side to side as they pass influence NASCAR each other on the racetrack, they also TEAM UP 2. Select a light object (such as a pencil) engineers’ choices? and a heavy object (such as a pack of go up! NASCAR racetracks aren’t  index cards). Tie a string around each completely flat. On turns, Explain that NASCAR engineers spend a object, leaving a three-foot-long piece the tracks are actually tilted. The lot of thinking about kinetic energy attached. Have a student volunteer highest racetrack banking is tilted for both racecar performance and safety. hold the light object in his or her right a steep 33 degrees at the Talladega Divide students into teams, and tell them hand three feet above the ground. He Super Speedway. to put on their make-believe “engineer or she should hold the other end of 2. Racetrack bankings help drivers caps.” They’ll need to imagine all the the string in his or her left hand so it maintain grip as they whip around parts of a NASCAR race from start to is stretched horizontally. Have another corners. The steeper bankings also finish—that includes designing cars and student place a paper cup on the create more potential energy in the tracks, installing safety protections for floor just under the first student’s left racecars because the cars are raised drivers and fans, understanding how hand, and mark the spot on the floor higher in the air. When drivers come off will perform while racing and with a piece of masking tape. Tell the a banking and onto the flat portion of when making pit stops, and even things first student to let go of the object so the track, they have more speed as the that could possibly go wrong during a it swings and collides with the paper potential energy transforms into kinetic competition. Have students create a list cup (this may take a few tries to hit energy. of the roles kinetic energy plays in each the cup). Have your other volunteer stage of racing. 3. Explain that NASCAR engineers measure the the paper cup